These 1794 U.S. contract muskets were manufactured utilizing a mix of American-made and foreign parts and generally resemble the French Model 1766 muskets. This example is one of around 354 muskets manufactured by James Nicholson of Philadelphia, circa 1795-1801. This musket is pictured and identified in George D. Moller's "American Military Shoulder Arms, Vol. II" on pages 135-137. According to Moller, "This musket is attributed to manufacture by James Nicholson under his 1794 U.S. contract. Many of the metal components used in this musket were salvaged from French Model 1773 and Model 1776 muskets, and a few appear to have been fabricated by Nicholson." Moller continued, "The French Model 1773 lock is marked indicating manufacture at Saint Etienne and is stamped 'US' at the tail. 'IN' is stamped in 5/16" block letters in the right side of the buttstock. This mark is attributed to James Nicholson." The left stock flat is stamped with an "x/V," a marking used from circa 1798 on muskets delivered to the Maryland-Pennsylvania area. Moller also notes that the trigger guard bow is from a French Model 1773 musket and the trigger plate and side plate are from a French Model 1766 musket. The side plate has been narrowed to fit this musket. "GDM" (George D. Moller) collection initials marked at the toe of the stock. Includes a modern leather sling and a period socket bayonet marked "No. 697." Provenance: The George Moller Collection
Good. The metal surfaces are mostly a smooth dark patina with minor-moderate pitting. The stock is also good with a few cracks between the middle and rear barrel bands and minor dings and scratches. The bayonet is fair with an overall dark patina and pitting. Mechanically fine. A very scarce U.S. contract musket that is missing from even the most advanced American military collections.